12 things you didn’t know about Menachem Begin

In this blog, we’ve been honoring a number of important figures in Israel’s history. If you recall, we have mentioned personalities from different fields, such as politics, literature, music, cinema, and we even brought you an interesting list of the most important Israelis who have won a Nobel prize.

At this opportunity, and following the series in which we discussed the life and legacy of Golda Meir, the phenomenal music of Naomi Shemer, and the outstanding creations of Ephraim Kishon, we now bring you a few interesting and remarkable facts about the life and history of Menachem Begin, the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel, who was responsible for the Peace Agreement between Israel and Egypt.

How much do you know about Begin? Well, in this short but interesting article from the Rosen School of Hebrew you’ll discover more layers of one of the strongest personalities Israeli politics has ever had. In case there is anything else you’d like to add or know about Menachem Begin’s life, just leave us a comment and we will take care of it.

Are you ready to swim into the life of the man who signed the peace agreement with Anwar Sadat? Here we go!

Interesting facts about Begin’s life: Way more than the peace agreement!

As we’ve been saying, there is much more to Begin’s life than one of the most important peace agreements in the entire history of Israel. We aim to give you more lights on everything he was, on all the things he achieved, and on the legacy he left in Israeli society.

Even though he is not categorized as that, we could say he was some sort of an “Iron Man” of Israeli politics. Usually, we refer to Golda as the “Iron Lady”, and even though Begin was part of Golda’s opposition, they were both strong, Zionist, and very important people for our country.

Get to know everything you always wanted to know about Begin in the paragraphs to come.

1. Menachem Begin was the founder of the Likud party, even though the roots of the party belong to the ideals of Zeev Jabotinsky, it was Begin who founded it in 1973.

2. Before the creation of the State of Israel and the return of thousands of Jews from the diaspora, he was the leader of the militant Zionist group Irgun, which was the revisionist breakaway from the Haganah movement.

3. In 1979, he signed a peace agreement with Egypt. That huge step for the State of Israel, led both him and Anwar Sadat, Egypt’s president at the time, to win a Nobel Prize for Peace.

4. He was born in what used to be the Brest-Litovsk in the Russian Empire. Today, the area is Brest, Belarus.

5. On his mother’s side, Menachem Begin was descended from a number of illustrious and respected rabbis.

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6. He studied law at Warsaw University. It was then that he gained and strengthened his oratory and rhetorical skills. That style of speaking was very characteristic of Menachem Begin during his entire time as a politician, and many of today’s Israeli leaders try to follow his trademark in the public speaking field.

7. He was a loyal pupil and follower of Zeev Jabotinsky, founder of the revisionist Zionist movement, and of its youth movement, Betar.

8. He worked closely with Moshe Dayan, a central figure in Israel and a military leader and politician. This happened even though Dayan used to belong to the Avoda (Labor) party, when Begin reached power as part of the Likud.

9. He appears as a character in the thriller novel “The Fifth Horseman”, by the authors Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre.

10. He wrote the amazing books “The Revolt”, and “White Nights: The story of a prisoner in Russia”. Both of them autobiographical memoirs that speak about different, and very important, stages of Menachem Begin’s life. You can find these books in paper and Kindle versions both on Amazon, in your closest book shop, and at your local library.

11. According to YourDictionary.com, “(…) Begin’s decision to resign as prime minister of Israel in 1983, brought to an end a major era in Israeli politics. It was a shock to Israelis, notwithstanding Begin’s earlier statements that he would retire from politics at age 70. Although no formal reason for his resignation was forthcoming, Begin apparently believed that he could no longer perform his tasks (…)”

12. His son, Benny Begin, was also a member of the Likud, and a member of the Knesset, and between 1996 and 1997 he was the Israeli Minister of Science.

Learn some Hebrew. Understand what Begin really meant!

Here’s something you can do to better understand who Menachem Begin really was: watch some of his greatest speeches and TV appearances. To do that and fully understand Hebrew, we suggest you enroll in one of the Rosen School’s online Hebrew classes.

In these online Hebrew courses, you will learn, live, with some extraordinary instructors, and in no time you will comprehend and speak the language of our ancestors, to either watch one of Begin’s speeches, or to ask – with confidence – for your favorite ice cream flavor when you visit Israel next. Behatzlacha!

About the author

Arie Elbelman R.Arie was born and raised in Chile, and immigrated to Israel in his early twenties. He wants to take an active role in the development of this young and smart country. Arie believes that the best way to shape our present and future is to live with more horizontal hierarchies, to smile a whole lot, and to always, always respect each other.

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